Kaplan spent five years at UCLA, but never earned a degree, then went into business full time, setting up shop in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, to sell recording tapes. The Los Angeles Times once called DAK the L.L. Bean of consumer electronics, adding though that Kaplan was reclusive and rarely granted interviews, and refused to be photographed.
Before the Internet, companies like DAK relied on catalogs to generate sales and incurred the high cost of printing and mailing. A large enterprise would have to create a great many catalogs to get sufficient sales. In 1985, Kaplan was involved in a lawsuit with his former printer, and court records show that he had ordered a run of 3.8 million catalogs.
By the late 1980s, DAK was a $120 million-a-year business with around 400 full-time workers. It was selling everything from radar detectors and stereo speakers to security lighting systems, hand-held photocopiers, and televisions with 2-inch screens.
Kaplan's 1/4 inch thick DAK catalogue was mailed across the United States and Canada, and its hallmark was the unusual first-person style of the ads, each with Kaplan's byline and with up to 1,400 words of text per page. Every word was his own. The catalog featured colorful product descriptions. For example, of a computer modem, he wrote: "Sex Education 1A. You need to determine whether your computer's . . . connector is male or female. If you look at the picture above, you'll note that . . . connector has holes going in it. It's a female. If it had copper pins sticking out, it would be a male. Now wasn't that simple? So, if yours is female, order our male cable and modem program. . . ."
DAK was responsible for bringing a number of electronic gadgets previously unknown or little known in the US market to the public's attention; among these included an early bread making machine, and an early laptop computer, the Epson PX-8 Geneva.
Kaplan wrote on his website, "Well the truth is, in 1994 I lost DAK. And it closed. I really can't blame anyone but myself. I was behind the banking relationship. It was the beginning of the Asian Meltdown. As far as I can see, my bank decided to retrench and we lost our credit line. I had never been able to find an American bank that liked the high volume/low margin business I had built."
DAK's catalog mailing list and customer database was valuable and sold during the bankruptcy proceedings to VentureDirect Worldwide. It was managed by Xactmail.com, a division of VentureDirect. Kaplan asserted it was not his buyers list, but that DAK customers were matched up against some other database.
Microsoft in Microsoft Corp. v. DAK Industries Inc. (U.S. Ninth Circuit, 1995) contended DAK was a debtor that continued to utilize the license after the bankruptcy filing, without paying for such use as an expense of administration. The U.S. Ninth Circuit held, however, that DAK's bankruptcy case was not entitled to priority as administrative expenses, and would instead be treated as nonpriority general unsecured claims. Moreover, it found DAK as the debtor/licensee was not otherwise required to pay any administrative expense for its post-bankruptcy use of the license. Thus, DAK was not required to make any administrative payments to Microsoft, even though DAK made significant use of the software license following the Chapter 11 filing.
WIPO ASSIGNS PATENT TO SANYO ELECTRIC, SANYO CONSUMER ELECTRONICS FOR "AUTOMATIC BREAD MAKING MACHINE" (JAPANESE INVENTOR)
Aug 08, 2011; GENEVA, Aug. 8 -- Publication No. WO/2011/092942 was published on Aug. 04. Title of the invention: "AUTOMATIC BREAD MAKING...
WIPO PUBLISHES PATENT OF SANYO ELECTRIC, SANYO CONSUMER ELECTRONICS FOR "AUTOMATIC BREAD-MAKING MACHINE" (JAPANESE INVENTORS)
Apr 10, 2012; GENEVA, April 7 -- Publication No. WO/2012/042981 was published on April 5. Title of the invention: "AUTOMATIC BREAD-MAKING...
WIPO ASSIGNS PATENT TO SANYO ELECTRIC, SANYO CONSUMER ELECTRONICS FOR "AUTOMATIC BREAD MAKING MACHINE" (JAPANESE INVENTORS)
Aug 20, 2011; GENEVA, Aug. 20 -- Publication No. WO/2011/099394 was published on Aug. 18. Title of the invention: "AUTOMATIC BREAD MAKING...